The Republican National Convention will bring a diverse array of groups to Cleveland who will protest the party and its soon-to-be-official presidential nominee, Donald Trump. Several groups will show up to protest the anti-immigrant and Islamophobic sentiments that have served as the foundation of Trump's national security rhetoric. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) was on the scene Monday morning before the proceedings kicked off to stage a creative protest against Islamophobia at the convention.
CAIR went to Cleveland to distribute "Islamophobin," a fake medicine to cure chronic Islamophobia. It promises relief of multiple symptoms, including "blind intolerance," "unthinking bigotry," "irrational fear of Muslims," and "U.S. presidential election year scapegoating." Like all medications, Islamophobin comes with a warning: "May result in peaceful coexistence."
In a statement announcing their protest, CAIR cited a number of instances in which Trump and others in his party have appealed to Islamophobic sentiments. They noted Newt Gingrich's statement following the Nice attack that all Muslims in the United States should be tested to determine whether they believe in Sharia, as well as Trump's infamous idea that we should ban Muslims from entering the United States and his statement that certain mosques must be shut down.
Unfortunately, there's no pill for curing bigotry, irrational fear, and scapegoating. The CAIR statement explained that the "medicine" is actually sugar-free gum. But fortunately, their efforts go beyond distributing fake medicine outside conventions.
CAIR is the largest advocacy and civil rights group for Muslims in America. They engage in a number of proactive efforts to improve the lives of American Muslims and combat skewed perceptions of Islam. The group provides counsel for Muslims who have experienced discrimination, works with media to promote accurate portrayals of Muslims, organizes Muslim voter drives, monitors legislation that could impact the Muslim community, and provides leadership programs for Muslim youth.
If overcoming Islamophobia in America were as simple as "take two and call a Muslim in the morning," as the Islamophobin box states, we would see a very different convention unfold throughout the week. But as CAIR knows, it takes hard work to promote dialogue and challenge the fearmongering and scapegoating coming from some Republicans.
Then again, there is something to be said for the power of the placebo effect. Does anybody know if The Donald chews gum?
Image: Seth Millstein/Bustle (1)